With the specs and streaming capability of smartphones constantly improving, you might be looking for a new unlimited data SIM-only deal to go with your handset. After all, what better way to start the new year than with streaming Emily in Paris on the train unburdened by a looming data cap?
If you have the upfront cash, you can also save compared to a two-year contract by purchasing a phone outright, and then opting for a cheaper SIM-only deal.
If data allowances are a bigger priority for you than texts or minutes – or if you're always streaming your favourite films and TV shows on the go, then an unlimited data package might be the most cost-effective solution for you.
Unlimited data SIMs are also ideal if you're already at the end of your phone contract and you're happy with your current handset. And it can sometimes be helpful to have a spare SIM card to use with a tablet, or a portable, MiFi-style mobile broadband router.
With all the major networks hoping to secure your custom, you can sometimes get a free gift or additional perks as part of your package, too.
We've been looking around and here are a number of major networks' unlimited data SIM offerings compared at the beginning of 2023.
Unlimited data SIM-only offers
EE 2023 unlimited data SIM deals
EE's unlimited data SIM plan usually costs £28 per month but right now customers will pay only £14 per month for the first six months. That's on a 24-month plan with unlimited texts and minutes, and it's 5G ready if you have a compatible handset (the maximum speed, per EE's website, is 100Mbps).
You can also share data with your family, or add a spending cap for out-of-bundle purchases.
Other perks include a variety of add-ons (or, as EE describes them, 'Inclusive Extras'). Previously branded as 'Smart Benefits', for an additional fee, you can bundle in a subscription to a service such as Apple Music, Apple TV+ or Apple Arcade, BT Sport, Microsoft 365 Personal, Netflix, or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. You can also choose from in-house EE add-ons like the Roam Abroad Pass.
The price goes up to £36 per month for one add-on (£18 per month for the first six months while the promotion continues to run), and £43 per month for three add-ons. There is also no maximum speed with these Unlimited + Inclusive Extra plans.
If you'd prefer a shorter, 12-month contract, that will cost you between £30 and £45 per month. You can also now get unlimited data on a 1-month deal, with prices starting at £35 per month.
You'll be shown a full range of options at checkout, as well as details of any promotional or free periods for these add-on subscriptions.
Note that EE's prices, including add-ons and out-of-bundle charges, "will increase on or after March 31 every year by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation published in January that year, plus 3.9%". You can find out more about that here. The exception is the EE Basics social tariff, where the monthly price will not rise but the out-of-bundle costs will.
Tesco Mobile 2023 unlimited data SIM deals
Tesco Mobile shares O2's network and offers three different unlimited data SIM-only contract options, which are 4G and 5G-ready. Clubcard members can enjoy savings on the 24-month unlimited plan.
- £25 per month for a 24-month contract (£20.23/month for Clubcard customers)
- £30 per month for a 12-month contract
Tesco Mobile says these plans have unlimited minutes and texts and EU roaming is available at no extra cost "until late spring 2023" – after that point, there will be a roaming charge.
Clubcard customers can collect points through Tesco Mobile, and it fixes its prices throughout the length of a contract, "so you know exactly where you stand". It's even got a price comparison calculator built into the page.
Three 2023 unlimited data SIM deals
Three's unlimited data SIM packages remain popular, and it's recently relaunched an offer that will get you unlimited data, texts, and minutes across a 24-month plan, but you'll only pay half price in the first six months of your two-year contract.
- 24-month plan - £12 per month for the first 6 months, then £24 thereafter
- 12-month plan - £24 per month
- 1-month plan - £28 per month
All the plans include unlimited minutes and texts – plus they're 5G ready, let you have a personal hotspot, and include Go Roam to unlock your UK data allowance and use it abroad for a daily fee (£2/day in Europe and £5/day in the rest of the world)
Three customers can also take advantage of its rewards programme Three+, with discounts from partners including UberEats, Cineworld, and Caffe Nero.
Three unlimited data Pay as You Go SIM
Three also offers a 5G-ready pay-as-you-go SIM with an unlimited data pack usually priced at £35 but currently down 6% £33, which it sells via its Amazon storefront.
You can buy one data pack per month, and the allowance lasts for a calendar month.
Note that Three's annual price increase comes into effect in April. Its terms and conditions, plus price guides, can be found here.
O2 2023 unlimited data SIM deals
O2 has long given its customers a variety of options when it comes to their phone plans, allowing them to mix and match based on their desired data allowance, plus their allocated monthly contract budget and any upfront fees.
However, for any prospective O2 customer who knows that they definitely want an unlimited, SIM-only data allowance, you can choose between three different contract lengths in the currently running January sale – 30 days for £36 per month, 12 months for £33 per month, or 24 months for £30 per month.
Customers who choose the 12-month or 24-month plan can choose perks including up to three months of Apple Music for free, plus an 'Extra', which is basically a subscription add-on at no extra cost (choose between Disney+, Prime Video, Amazon Music Unlimited, Audible, Cafeyn or McAfee for three months).
Once your free period is up, you'll be moved onto the regular plan for your chosen Extra, but you can cancel at any time.
The unlimited data SIMs also include 25GB roaming in O2's 'Europe Zone'.
For an extra fee (total £30/month on the 24-month unlimited plan, or £35/month on the 12-month plan), you can upgrade the Apple Music 'Extra' period from a maximum of three months to six as part of O2's 'Plus Plan'.
This Plus Plan also includes roaming "at no extra cost in 75 destinations worldwide" across the EU and also including the USA and Australia.
O2 customers also get access to its Priority discounts app, with offers from partners including ODEON and its own O2 venues. And if you're a customer of both O2 and Virgin Media, you can enjoy further exclusive benefits via VOLT.
O2's price increases take effect in April, and you can find out more about pricing changes right here.
Vodafone 2023 unlimited data SIM deals
Vodafone has three tiers of unlimited data contract for phones, offering increasing maximum download speeds.
Unlimited Lite costs £23 per month. This gives you a 2mb-per-second (MBps) average download speed, which is just enough for casual internet scrolling and messaging.
Meanwhile, Unlimited, priced at £27 per month, offers a maximum download speed of 10MBps – so you can stream HD movies, share pictures quickly and game on the go.
Its top tier, Unlimited Max, usually costs £30 per month, but is priced at £25 per month until January 26, which actually makes it cheaper than the Unlimited tier. It's 5G ready at no additional cost, giving you the maximum download speed available.
All the above prices are on a 24-month contract. Vodafone does offer 12-month and 30-day SIM-only plans, but as you'd expect, these are more expensive.
You can check out all the different plans here, and toggle between different contract lengths towards the top of the page.
Customers on 24-month or 12-month contracts can also upgrade the Unlimited or Unlimited Max plan for an additional £7 per month on top of their contract price, to add an Entertainment package for the duration of their agreement. There are three options – YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime, or Spotify Premium.
Vodafone unlimited data Pay as You Go SIM
Bundles last for 30 days and you have the option to roll over allowances as long as they're used within the following 30 days, subject to certain conditions – there's an FAQ right here.
VOXI 2023 unlimited data SIM deals
VOXI, which uses Vodafone's network, is offering double data with its plans in its winter sale, until January 26.
Meanwhile, its Unlimited data plan is priced at £30 per month for the sale (usually £35/month). It's 5G-ready (if your phone is), comes with unlimited calls and texts, and customers have the flexibility to change plans on a 30-day rolling basis.
VOXI is also one of only two networks in the UK to offer a social tariff for those receiving financial support from the government, and it's the only such plan with unlimited data.
The VOXI For Now plan is a SIM-only offering priced at £10 per month with unlimited 5G-ready data, plus unlimited calls and texts. It lasts for six months and after that, customers will be moved onto VOXI's standard £10 per month plan.
Virgin Media 2023 unlimited data SIM deals
Since it teamed up with O2, Virgin Media now only offers 30-day SIM-only contracts.
Its Unlimited data SIM option, which is 5G ready, is priced at £30 per month right now.
Virgin Media's annual price rises take effect in April, and it notes "our airtime plan will increase by the Retail Price Index rate of inflation announced in February +3.9%".
For details on its 'Roam Like Home' policy, head over here.